Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Lk 19:1-10 The Untold Story

Tuesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)


Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.  Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was... So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way.

Conversion stories are the best stories!  They are full of God-awful things, God-inspiring things and God-awesome things. 

God awful.  We all know the following bible verse from Revelation.  It's famous for being so direct:  "I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish you were either cold or hot.  So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth."

Every morning I see the same people attending Mass.  I see them sitting in the same place in the church. 

They have their pew. 
They have their routine. 
They have their way.

There is no doubt in my mind they love the Lord, for they serve, read and pray at Mass reverently.  They even arrive on time periodically, something I always struggle to do!!! 

But are they  - we - me - doing the best to fill up the pews?  Are they - we - me - inviting others to break bread in the house of the Lord?  This is so important.  Why?  Because it creates momentum and enthusiasm!

Conversion stories create missionaries and missionaries create enthusiasm, and the momentum from the two gets the heart and soul and mind and body pumping!

Zacchaeus meets Jesus Christ.    "Come down from that tree!..." and face the world, my friend. 

Zacchaeus wouldn't dare ask the taller people to get out of the way for him or to make an opening for him.  They would have spit on his face!  So what did the short fella do?  He climbed up a tree, and the Lord noticed him.  Actually, he noticed his curiosity, enthusiasm and determination. 

What happened next shocked the hell out of the crowd:  "Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house."

What???  Wait???  What did He do???  Did you hear that?  Did Jesus just invite himself over to the house of a sinner, a horrible sinner with poor odds of ever changing???

I can't believe it...
but it's true. 

I can't believe Him...
but He is the Truth.

What Jesus did the U.S. Military would have called "shock and awe!"

At times, I feel like we, Catholics, have a fortress mentality, the kind of strategy that ends with a slaughter! 

And have no doubts about it:  we are getting slaughtered! 

Our families are getting slaughtered!  Our children are getting slaughtered!  Our way of life is getting slaughtered.  Our beliefs are getting slaughtered. 

For goodness sake!  Have we forgotten how to be missionaries and break the siege?  Have we forgotten how to shock and awe our adversaries?  I think we have, for we are neither hot nor cold but just plain...blah! 

Look here.  Jesus was a fanatic!  Not the ISIL type - God forbid! - but the Holy type:  the one who never writes off people. 

Jesus knew who to invite:  the least likely to succeed. 
He knew who to dine with:  the least likeable people. 
He knew who to interact with:  the untouchables, the unforgiverable[s] and the undesirables. 

Christ knew how to create drama; that is, staged drama with real life actors.  He knew who to pick as His stars, not because He had some sort of insider knowledge, but because He looked for those individuals who thought the least of themselves, or who thought that God thought the least about them! 

This time the star was Zacchaeus.
And the crowd booed! 

The people didn't like it.  They didn't like it at all.  Jesus was no people pleaser, like the Pharisees or the scribes or anyone who claims to be the sole defender of Catholicism! 

So they began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner." 

Could this day have gone any better for the Lord?  It was soooo perfect!!!  

Before Jesus could defend his actions, Zacchaeus chimed in and created more shock and awe:  "Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over."


That evening, Zacchaeus sat down with the Lord and His disciples and they heard his story, his life story.  All the God-awful things he had done; all the God-inspiring things he had done; and all the God-awesome things he and the Lord had done.

One more seat just got filled in the pews.  And it was on a weekday. 

Talk to anti-Catholics with love.  Write to the outcasts with compassion.  Make friends with sinners.  Invite someone you know that needs to go to Mass, even to the 6:30 am Mass!  They may end up hating you or loving you, but I guarantee you they won't feel lukewarm about you. 

1 comment:

  1. Father, thank you for this excellent meditation. As the old adage goes, "You are what you eat." But are we really??? At the heart of our faith is the Eucharist. It is the living body of our Lord. It is Thanksgiving. It is Grace. It is Community. It is Love. It is transformative. But am I allowing Christ to transform me? Why not?

    I read an excellent homily on the Eucharist by a Jesuit priest named Father Walter Burghardt.

    "The body of Christ that is the Eucharist is not a private party, a me-and-Jesus two-step. The body of Christ that is the Eucharist makes the Body of Christ that is the Church. lt is broken not to satisfy isolated individuals but to build community. lt is broken particularly for those who are themselves uncommonly broken, who share more of Jesus' crucifixion than of his resurrection. That body is broken and given even for those who have not the joy of receiving it."

    Father's meditation coupled with this beautiful homily caused me to ask what I am doing to build that Eucharistic community. What I have done to fill those pews?


Updated: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. Comments must be concise and to the point.Comments are no longer accepted for posts older than 7 days.